Pressure Cookers: How Small is Too Small?
I saw this set on sale locally in the 6 liter/2.5 liter size and it's a thing of beauty:
I currently have a Fagor Elite set that is 8 and 4 quart and I find I rarely use the larger one. I'm cooking for two but usually plan for leftovers. Does anyone have a small (less than 4 quart/3.5 liter) capacity pressure cooker and do you find it useful?
I have a 1.5L Hawkins. I bought it with camping in mind, since it fits inside the windscreen of my camp stove nicely. It is fine when cooking a meal for 2 people without any leftovers, for example a simple stew with 3/4lb of chuck steak, or a risotto with 1/2c of rice.
I haven't used it much at home because -
- some leftovers are fine
- I don't need to conserve stove fuel
- it is aluminum, and my preferred burner at home is induction.
The 2.5L size is described as a 'pressure skillet'; it has the same diameter as the larger one, but is shallower. I have an aluminum dutch oven with similar dimensions, and a cast iron 'chicken fryer' that is just a bit bigger. You may find it to be more useful for non-pressure applications, for example, searing meat, and then finishing off with a bit of liquid and a cover.
I have the 2-liter pressure skillet that comes as part of the Kuhn Rikon "Duromatic Duo" set (the other pot is the 5-liter size), and it gets a fair amount of use. I usually cook for two, and it's great for making two to three servings of chicken, pork chops, vegetables, risotto, etc. Compared to the large pot, it comes up to pressure faster and is easier to hand-wash in my smallish sink. It's not something I would have purchased separately, but it's a nice adjunct to the larger cooker.
re: Miss Priss
I have the same KR set as Miss Priss but rarely use the smaller cooker. The cookbook "Pressure Cooking for Everyone," came with my set. In it, they describe the smaller 2 1/2 qt size as ideal for risotto. It is. I do use it for risotto, vegetables, or a few red potatoes. But you can do all that in the larger cooker.
Yes, you can certainly do all that in the larger cooker. I definitely consider the smaller one a luxury, not a necessity. All the major Western European pressure cooker brands seem to include models with a capacity of 3 liters or less, in different shapes, either alone or in sets, so there must be more of a demand for them there; but I’m not sure exactly why.
A 2.5 liter cooker is good for small amounts but, in general, it might not be the best size to use. I am surprised that you don't use your 8 quart Fagor much. You can cook small amounts in it and it's great for the times that you need to make larger amounts of soup or stock.
The Fissler pressuve cookers are beautiful and well made. It could be good set to purchase, if you think that it will suit your needs.
My smallest cooker is a B/R/K set that has a 3 liter pot. I use that for cooking 1 cup of grains or a couple of cups of beans or vegetables for a meal or two. I am not sure of its functionality if it were smaller.